Booking cheap flights can sometimes be rather challenging; particularly if you are unsure of the ways to save a bit of hard-earned cash. At HolidayPirates, we work with reputable sites such as Kayak to provide you with an all-in-one resource to save money when reserving flights online.
Still, this is just the beginning. Let's look at our ten top tips that offer amazingly cheap travel options.
1. Book Early
One of the first things to keep in mind that finding a cheap holiday will normally revolve around booking your flights well in advance of your departure date. As a rule of thumb, try to confirm any reservations at least six weeks before your intended departure date.
2. Use Comparison Sites
Finding cheap flights online is very easy by using third-party cross comparison sites/engines. These offer you side-by-side examples of different prices from different airlines. Once you find a price that suits your budget, you will simply be redirected to the site in question. Some of the best tools that you should have in your arsenal when searching for the cheapest prices are Skyscanner, Kayak, Momondo and Google Flights. These engines tend to cross compare flight prices against various ticketing agents and sometime can even shave of a fare bit of your standard ticket additionally they can be used to identify the cheapest dates to fly.
Tip: If you are trying to optimise the dates of flying the Skyscanner Monthly and Yearly view can be very handy when trying to find the cheapest outbound and inbound dates to your flights, it must noted it is not 100% accurate as OTA's (Online Ticketing Agents) are constantly changing prices but its a good basis when starting to search for your cheap airfares.
3. Consider Layovers
While direct flights may be the most convenient, let us not forget that they will tend to be much more expensive sometimes double or triple the cost. Cheap flights are often those which will have a layover in another city which usually tends to be in the country where carrier is based for instance if you are flying with Emirates to the Maldives you will have a layover in Dubai (however, this is not always the case and is influenced by the routing). Factor this into your timetable and remember that even if you must wait at another terminal for a few hours, you will likely be savings hundreds of pounds. This is a worthwhile trade off.
Example: We recently shared some great flights to the Cook Islands. Whilst the travelling time is around 55 hours, this does include spending almost a full day in Singapore on the way out, and then a similar amount of time in Sydney on the way home. This tactic has saved serious bucks, with tickets costing under £1000 rather than around the £2000 mark.
4. Seasonal Concerns to Remember
It can be difficult to encounter cheap holiday rates during the peak travel seasons of the year. These times tend to fall within the summer months and around the school holidays. A great way to save money is to book any flights online within spring or autumn. Also, we should never forget that this cheap travel alternative will also help you to avoid the throngs of tourists that are normally present during busier seasons. You should also remember that just because its peak season in the UK and all your friends are going on holiday it might not be the best time of year to visit the particular destination you are interested in making your experience less pleasant. Finally, you are most likely able to find more flexible dates and seating options. This is always a concern if you are travelling with your family or a group of friends.
5. Buying Late for Cheap Flights
This may seem to go against our previous suggestion, but buying tickets late can actually prove to be quite useful. This is due to the fact that airlines will frequently offer last-minute seats at discounted prices simply to book their flights. Many cheap flights online can be found in this manner and charter airlines are particular interesting for this such as Monarch, Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson. You may even be able to receive email updates when such openings occur. This is a better option if you are travelling solo as opposed to with your family; last-minute bookings can be a bit hectic!
Example: These flights we recently published to Orlando, leave in the coming days and are great value for money!
6. Stay Flexible
Another excellent way to save money when reserving flights online is to remain flexible with your departure and return dates. Providing yourself with a wider window will enable the carriers to offer you with more agreeable prices. Note that the cheapest travel days of the week tend to be Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Cheap flights are less likely to be found on a Friday or a Sunday.
Tip: Pack smart, ask yourself the question do I really need to talk all this luggage with me, this is particularly important when flying with low cost carriers and charter airlines as they will only provide you with free hand luggage. If you are a family don't buy too much hold luggage, pack all your heavy items in the suitcases and maximise that free hand luggage you are entitled to, you can often pick up your lotions and potions cheap in other countries so don't bother taking these items and only what is needed. We are often posting cheap Ryanair flights and the luggage charges can cost more then the basic airfare so, become smart and avoid these fees.
7. Multiple Airports
When searching for cheap flights online, be sure to select different airports around your geographic location. Sometimes your local departure might not have many flights allowing the airlines to charge premium for the few flights they operate. Cast a wider net when looking for flights and try to fly to Hub airports such as Dublin, London or Manchester where flights are significantly greater, allowing competition and ultimately lower prices. You will be surprised to learn that depending upon the departure terminal, the cost of a flight can vary into the hundreds of pounds. Most cheap holiday travel websites will enable you to select one or more airports on their home page. Just be certain to factor in the travel time between such locations; you never want to arrive late and miss your flight!
Tip: The ITA Matrix is the single most powerful search tool that you can use to find cheap airfares, it is extremely versatile and in-depth, allowing you cross check airports within a 2000 mile radius from your local departure point, comparing all scheduled carriers for various dates and trip durations. However, its real skill does not lie with searching basic return flights, it has the ability to find booking errors, promotions, and our famous open-jaw flight solutions. It must be noted it is a slow process and does not work perfectly first time but with practise and refinement you can truly find those amazing fares we do. Additionally you can not book with the ITA Matrix but only find the fare, which you will then input into the search comparison tools mentioned above, if you are booking open-jaws you will have to use Kayak as the other tools do not support multi-stop nor open-jaw solutions.
8. Smaller Airlines
While companies such as British Airways or Lufthansa may provide you with the most options, recall that budget airlines exist for a reason. Try searching for flights online from these carriers. Of course, you may not be able to enjoy first-class amenities. However, these are excellent alternatives that will allow you to arrive at your destination at a fraction of the cost that can be incurred when using larger conglomerates. This is especially a great way to save money when booking shorter and regional flights.
9. The Chances of a Refund?
Another potential way to save money when searching for flights online is to carefully watch the prices of fares after you have already purchased your ticket. Why is this the case? It is a lesser-known fact that some airlines will be able to provide you with a discount for the difference between the two figures. This may not always work, but it is still worth the effort. Also, you can determine whether or not this is an option when reserving cheap flights online by reading the terms and conditions of your contract.
10. Consider a Points Scheme
This is especially relevant if you are planning to travel extensively in one country or region. There are occasions when am airline will provide you with cheap flights should you be frequently travelling within their coverage zone. An example of this can be seen in the air passes provided by Qantas (Australia). In fact, this may also be a possibility if you are planning a trip around the world. As before, check with specific carriers to discover if this is an option. Loyalty schemes, such as Avios, will allow you to collect points from your general spending habits, which can then be traded in for discounts on some airlines. It is also good to consider joining schemes with airline groups. Working in a similar way to Avios, you will be rewarded for your loyalty to a certain airline and these points can be put towards purchasing flights.
These are ten excellent ways to enjoy a convenient and cheap holiday. Also, these suggestions can always be used in conjunction with one another. For example, why not compare and contrast providers while simultaneously searching for air passes and off-season discounts? With a bit of preparation, it has never been easier to enjoy the holiday of your dreams while saving a great deal of money with these cheap travel trips. Indeed, the world awaits!